From Engineering to career in Civil services, perseverance helped me stay afloat; says Alok Singh (AIR 628; CSE 2018)

By taking charge of his life and availing opportunities to grow, 27 years old, Alok Singh secured success in Civil Services Examination 2018 and has accomplishes a Goal he envisaged during his first job. 

This success came to him in third attempt. It is more significant as Alok was preparing for Civil Services Examination while continuing in service. 

He considers his performance in Essay and interview helped him succeed. His Optional Subject has been Geography.

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His hobby is Rapping and he plays Basketball; with B.Tech. Degree (Mechanical Engineering), he qualified GATE and got selected as a management trainee in Steel Authority of India (SAIL). 

Career progression - Keeping it real

Urge to make it BIG, he kept on trying his luck and again, got selected as an auditor by SSC CGL; but, didn't join. Career advancement on top-of-mind, his next selection has been UPSC EPFO Enforcement officer and has been working here for the last one year.

This story is of a lad from Noida, Uttar Pradesh; Alok Singh who’s resolute to move towards the dream career in Civil Services helped him achieve bright success in Civil Services Examination 2018.Alok-Singh-IAS-Topper-628th-Rank-CSE-2018

Narrating his journey towards destination Alok said, “At the age of 21, I joined Steel Authority of India Limited in Bokaro, Jharkhand as Junior Engineer. Back then, I had no aspirations to enter in to administration.”

Career in Civil services, why?

Divulging details about his viewpoint Alok said, “I always had this inclination towards engineering and I loved serving in SAIL.

However, I had a lot of contractual workers under me who were tribal. I used to interact with them and gradually got to know of the various hardships that these people had to face.

Basic facilities like clean drinking water and sanitation was a luxury for them. And myself being a technocrat, I wasn't able to contribute much to change their lives.

Thus, I made the decision to switch to administration as Civil Services offered various opportunities to work for their betterment.”Alok-Singh-IAS-Topper-628th-Rank-CSE-2018

Preparation Set up

Candidly talking about the first step, Alok said, “To be honest, I never had any kind of guidance for the Civil Services Examination.

It is the online platforms that I used to seek guidance from. Videos of various toppers and their write ups helped me with my preparation.”

The Journey

My first attempt in CSE 2016 was a poorly prepared one. In this attempt I wasn't able to cover up all the current affairs; thus, I faltered in Prelims itself.

In CSE 2017, I was not well versed with my optional subject; thus, got knocked out of Main Examination.
It was only when I joined EPFO that my senior Shri. Gaurav Dogra Sir, Assistant Commissioner, EPFO gave various advices to me regarding preparation, which turned out to be pure gold and helped me in securing a rank.
So, you can say CSE 2018 was my first fully prepared attempt wherein all the points were covered.

I think it's the writing practice and interlinkage of various topics contributed the most in getting success in this attempt.
General Studies and Essay papers are not something that have to be kept in tight silos. Various concepts need to be linked and the thought process must be such that a broad spectrum of thoughts can be conceived.Alok-Singh-IAS-Topper-628th-Rank-CSE-2018

Being in job proved to be a boon

By spending time with positive minded people and just by focusing on positive aspects, I reached my destination.

I think that perseverance all through the three attempts that I undertook was the key to my success.

Also, I believe that since I was a working professional, I never had to worry about the finances. I was psychologically free and could focus on my studies.

Moreover, while in SAIL, I had an important support in Shri NK Singh sir, manager, who used to motivate me to study.
In EPFO, I had an immensely supportive boss in Shri Amitabh Prakash Sir, Regional Commissioner, Pune, who showed empathy towards myself and allowed me leaves during exam days. I am hugely indebted to both of them.

My father’s belief kept me motivated

I hail from a lower middle class family of Noida, UP; having roots in Rural Bihar. My father Shri Anil Kumar Singh is in service. My family has always supported me not only for Civil Services Examination; but, in every endeavour of mine, .

It wouldn't have been possible without my dad showing belief in me.

His mantra always motivates me:
"Mann se haare, har; Mann se jeete, jeet"

Credit for Success 

It would be unfair to give credit to any single person for the success.

I believe that an attitude needs to be developed right from the childhood to be an administrator. Thus, my family, my teachers, my friends, my colleagues, my seniors, my bosses, my subordinates; each and every one of them has played a role in this success.

Also, time is a great teacher. Continuous attempts have taught a lot along with various online forums.

All of these factors have contributed to this success.

Secret of Success

Time Management and Perseverance are the key to success in this examination; more so for a working professional like me.

Advice to motivate future aspirants

This Exam is a long struggle.

Some of us are fortunate enough to clear it in first attempt; but, for the rest of us, it's a long drawn battle.

And to persist in this battle, we need to find our individual inner motivations. For me, that motivation was the problems that I became aware of, in the lives of tribal’s.

Last Update Wednesday 25th March 2020     

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